You want the good news or the bad news first?
Trick question! It's bad news. Last week, just prior to the close of our Kickstarter campaign, we received a cease and desist letter from Perkins Coie, a big fancy law firm employed by Quinn & Sherry, the publishers of "The Game of THINGS…" They claim that "TERRIBLE THINGS: The Party Game Where Everyone Loses" infringes on their trademark.
We could spend a lot of time picking apart the absurdities in their argument, but in the interest of efficiency, we thought we'd just re-post their letter here. We think the insanity speaks for itself:
Just to make sure we weren't making a mountain out of a molehill, we asked them to clarify their position:
"Jack and I are confused about what the actual infringement consists of, and would greatly appreciate some clarification so that we can best remedy the situation. Is your position that any board game published with "Things" in the title infringes on Quinn & Sherry's trademark?"
Their answer was a simple "Yes.":
"A game with the word THINGS in the title may appear to consumers to be a variation or themed version of the THINGS... game. Thus, a name with THINGS in it is likely to be too close to the THINGS… trademark. Quinn & Sherry has invested significantly in building brand recognition for the THINGS… trademark over the past ten years. We hope we can reach an agreed resolution and avoid formal proceedings. Litigation is costly and time consuming for everyone. However, my client will defend its rights. Having not yet started manufacturing, changing the name of your game at this stage would be the most cost effective. Accordingly, we look forward to your confirmation that you will select a different mark for your game – one that does not include the term THINGS."
And there you have it. Quinn & Sherry is willing to take us to court for DARING to publish a game with the word "things" in the title, because they believe they own that word. The word "things." Seriously.
So here's where we are: this has already pushed back our publishing date, and we don't want a ridiculous legal battle to delay the game any further. So we're changing the name. Starting over is a time and money suck, but this is simply the least bad option available to us. Here was our response:
"In the interest of preventing further delay or cost in publishing our game, we have decided to change the name to a mark that does not include the word "Things." Not because you're right, but because we simply don't have the resources to defend ourselves.
You should be ashamed of yourselves."
We want to be very clear: we think this whole thing is BULLSHIT. We just simply can't afford to deal with it right now. They could bring us to court, try to enjoin Amazon from releasing the campaign funds, or do a million other things that we seriously don't have the time or the money to fight against, and our primary goal is to get this game out there, whatever its name.
Stay classy, everyone.